Prue Power, CEO of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association introduces Croakey readers to the ‘Deeble Institute’
A constant challenge in health care is to ensure high quality research informs health care policy and practice. Too often, research is conducted in a vacuum by skilled, but isolated, researchers whose findings never make it out of the pages of an academic journal and into health policies, hospitals, and other health care service settings.
A new research institute now aims to change this situation by bringing researchers together with health care practitioners and policymakers to tackle key national health policy challenges facing Australia.
The Deeble Institute, which was launched last Tuesday by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), is a unique collaboration between the university and health service sectors. It straddles the gap (some would say a chasm!) between the worlds of academic and grass roots health care by drawing on the expertise and knowledge of leaders from both sectors. Professor Vivian Lin from La Trobe University is the Inaugural Chair of the Institute Board and its Inaugural Director is Dr Anne-marie Boxall.
Initially, the Institute will focus its work in four main areas: publishing accessible and objective briefs on health policy; undertaking rigorous, independent research on important national health policy problems; organising conferences, seminars, think-tanks and workshops; and helping policymakers, researchers and practitioners build relationships in areas of mutual interest.
Seven universities have joined up as founding partners of the Institute which provides a broad academic base and ensures the highest academic standards. The Institute’s Board is made up of health policy and health care experts from a wide range of backgrounds, including Professor Andrew Wilson, Mr Robert Wells, Professor Kathy Eager and Professor Hal Swerissen.
The institute is named after its patron Dr John Deeble (AO), an Emeritus Fellow of the Australian National University, a Sax Medallist and life member of the AHHA. With Dr Dick Scotton, he co-authored the original proposals for universal health insurance in 1968 when they worked together in the Melbourne University Institute of Applied Economic Research. He was Special Adviser to the Ministers for Health in the Whitlam and Hawke governments, Chairman of the Planning Committees for both Medibank and Medicare and a Commissioner of the Health Insurance Commission for 16 years. He has also had a distinguished career in the public service and academia, both in Australia and internationally.
In the current health reform environment, it is vital that changes being made to our health system are informed by high quality research and deliver tangible benefits to consumers. This can only be achieved through the active involvement of academics with expertise in key areas of health as well as clinicians and health service managers who understand the complex environment in which health care is delivered.
The Deeble Institute welcomes input from all sectors of the health system and would like to hear from anyone who has ideas for projects it could undertake or who would like to make a contribution to its work. It aims to be as accessible as possible to all with an interest in health care policy and practice and to encourage and support the involvement of those who may not have many opportunities to participate in research projects.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Deeble Institute or would like to contribute to its work, please contact Dr Anne-marie Boxall on 02 6162 0780 or via email on email@example.com.
Croakey has obtained this image of a portrait of John Deeble painted for the opening of the Institute – readers will probably know the artist but may not realise that she has such artistic talent. Congratulations to PRUE POWER on capturing the spirit and the personality of John in such a beautiful painting.